Community Agriculture Alliance: Ranchers honored through Centennial Farms Program
August 31, 2017
As Coloradans, we owe much of our vitality, prosperity and cultural identity to family farms and working ranches, past and present. These places provide us food and fiber, preserve the open spaces we so cherish and, in the case of historic farms, serve as a reminder of our roots. While many historic family farms have disappeared from the landscape through the years, due to economic challenges, urbanization and growth pressures and technology changes, those that persist deserve recognition.
Since 1986, History Colorado and the Colorado Department of Agriculture have partnered to recognize the important role agriculture has played in our state's history and economic development. The Colorado Centennial Farms program honors farmers and ranchers who have maintained ownership and operation of their land for 100 years or more. Properties that have four or more well-maintained structures — which are at least 50 years old — are also eligible for a Historic Structures Award.
On Aug. 25, 38 farms and ranches were honored as Centennial Farms during a ceremony at the Colorado State Fair. In total, 550 properties across the state have been recognized, including 12 Centennial Farms in Routt County. This year, two Routt County properties received Centennial Farms status: the Redmond Ranch and the Hogue Ranch.
The 387-acre Redmond Ranch is nestled between two ridges at the base of the Flat Tops, elevation 8,147 feet. In addition to its Centennial Farms status, the ranch is listed on the Routt County and Colorado Register of Historic Properties. The land was homesteaded in the 1890s by the Boor Family. The main house was built in the mid-1890s, as evidenced by the historic newspapers found stuffed in the walls for insulation. In 1917, James Redmond purchased the land and acquired water rights to the property. The Redmond family has lived and worked the land since; they have raised Herford cattle, sheep, chickens, native grass hay, oats and barley. The Redmonds have taken seriously their commitment to stewardship of the land and its history.
The Hogue Ranch, located on U.S. Highway 40 west of Steamboat Springs, is notable for its continuous operation as a cattle ranch and also for its association with people who have contributed significantly to our community. William Denison homesteaded the land in 1880. According to the Routt County Register of Historic Properties, Dension bequeathed his books to the community in 1889, which started the library in Steamboat Springs. In 1912, James Norvell, the influential "cowboy preacher" and town mayor, acquired the land and water rights to the ranch. Frank Squire was Norvell's cattle foreman for 20 years before purchasing the land in 1917. The family has stewarded the land ever since. In 1948, Squire turned over the property to his daughter, Margaret, and her husband, Charles Hogue. Charles Hogue served in the 10th Mountain Division in 1942. The structures on the property stand as tangible representation of these important community stories.
Historic Routt County is proud to support our community's Centennial Farms. We stand ready to provide useful resources to those interested in having their historic properties recognized and preserved. To learn more about Colorado's Centennial Farms program or Historic Routt County, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 970-875-1305.
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Emily Katzman is executive director of Historic Routt County.